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adjective \ˈshrüd, especially Southern ˈsrüd\

Simple Definition of shrewd

  • : having or showing an ability to understand things and to make good judgments : mentally sharp or clever

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of shrewd

  1. 1 archaic :  mischievous

  2. 2 obsolete :  abusive, shrewish

  3. 3 obsolete :  ominous, dangerous

  4. 4a :  severe, hard <a shrewd knock>b :  sharp, piercing <a shrewd wind>

  5. 5a :  marked by clever discerning awareness and hardheaded acumen <shrewd common sense>b :  given to wily and artful ways or dealing <a shrewd operator>

shrewdly adverb
shrewdness noun

Examples of shrewd in a sentence

  1. According to Frank Luntz, Republican pollster and spinmeister, these younger working women with small children are critical swing voters. By dint of focus groups and shrewd professional questioning, Luntz has determined what these women need most—more time in their lives. He seemed to regard this finding as a considerable coup. —Molly Ivins, Mother Jones, September/October 2004

  2. When Ann Richards fractured her hand in a fall nine years ago, she went to the doctor for a bone density test only to learn that she had … an early form of osteoporosis. The diagnosis spurred the former Texas governor, whose mother and grandmother also suffered from the disease, to write I'm Not Slowing Down: Winning My Battle with Osteoporosis … an inspiring little volume filled with the author's shrewd insights into healthcare, gender and, yes, politics. —Julie Hale, Book Page, August 2003

  3. One shrewd political tactician who knew what it was like to lose a close election watched Goldwater closely. Nixon had an eye on a comeback in 1968 and knew he needed the South—all of it this time. —Jon Meacham, Newsweek, 23 Dec. 2002

  4. But a growing empire produces tough challenges. Winfrey is used to ironclad control. A shrewd businesswoman, she still signs all the checks of more than $1,000 for her Harpo Entertainment Group, and she meticulously scrutinizes the smaller ones that others sign for her. —Lynette Clemetson, Newsweek, 8 Jan. 2001

  5. She's shrewd about her investments.

  6. <a shrewd used car dealer who knew how to make the best possible deal>

Origin of shrewd

Middle English shrewed, from shrewe + 1-ed

First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of shrewd

shrewd, sagacious, perspicacious, astute mean acute in perception and sound in judgment. shrewd stresses practical, hardheaded cleverness and judgment <a shrewd judge of character>. sagacious suggests wisdom, penetration, and farsightedness <sagacious investors got in on the ground floor>. perspicacious implies unusual power to see through and understand what is puzzling or hidden <a perspicacious counselor saw through the child's facade>. astute suggests shrewdness, perspicacity, and diplomatic skill <an astute player of party politics>.

SHREWD Defined for Kids


adjective \ˈshrüd\

Definition of shrewd for Students


  1. :  showing quick practical cleverness <a shrewd businessman>

shrewdly adverb
shrewdness noun

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